We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Angela's Ashes Audiobook

Angela's Ashes

Why we think it’s a great listen: There’s no gentle way to put this – Frank McCourt’s performance of Angela’s Ashes is just better than the Pulitzer Prize-winning book. Frank McCourt shares his sometimes heartwarming, sometimes heartbreaking story of growing up poor, Irish, and Catholic in the Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir Angela's Ashes.
    • 1 audiobook per month
    • 180,000+ titles to choose from
    • $14.95 per month after free trial

Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: People have called this a sad book. I imagine those are people who read it with their eyes instead of hearing Frank McCourt narrate his story. Those who listen hear the ecstasy in McCourt's exclamations over a piece of bread and an egg and the humor with which he dealt with hardships. Listeners are enveloped by McCourt's brogue, occasional songs, and his joyful spirit. —Beth Anderson

Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 1997

National Book Critics Circle, Biography/Autobiography, 1997

Frank McCourt's Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir, movingly read in his own voice, bears all the marks of a classic. Born in Depression-era Brooklyn to Irish immigrant parents, Frank was later raised in the slums of Limerick, Ireland. His mother, Angela, had no money to feed her children since Frank's father, Malachy, rarely worked, and when he did, he drank his wages. Angela's Ashes is the story of how Frank endured - wearing shoes repaired with tires, begging for a pig's head for Christmas dinner, and searching the pubs for his father - a tale he relates with eloquence, exuberance, and remarkable forgiveness.

Listen to Frank McCourt talk about this book on C-SPAN's Booknotes (7/11/97).

©1997 Frank McCourt, All Rights Reserved; (P)1997 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, Audioworks is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Frank McCourt is a marvelous writer whose words are made all the better when he reads them aloud..." (Bookpage)
"...one of the best I've heard in years." (The Boston Globe)
"...so good it deserves a sequel" (The New York Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (3691 )
5 star
 (2432)
4 star
 (744)
3 star
 (296)
2 star
 (129)
1 star
 (90)
Overall
4.5 (2373 )
5 star
 (1585)
4 star
 (481)
3 star
 (171)
2 star
 (78)
1 star
 (58)
Story
4.6 (2374 )
5 star
 (1835)
4 star
 (355)
3 star
 (100)
2 star
 (47)
1 star
 (37)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Amazon Customer USA 11-29-14
    Amazon Customer USA 11-29-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    16
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Frank McCourt, what a guy!!!"
    What made the experience of listening to Angela's Ashes the most enjoyable?

    My paternal grandfather was from Ireland (Cork) and so I liked hearing about Frank's experience growing up there. Also.....his narration was great...just great!


    What did you like best about this story?

    How Frank tried to keep his head above water in a world where poverty was pulling on his legs trying to drown him and his mother, just barely able to cope, was little help to him.


    What about Frank McCourt’s performance did you like?

    Everything....his accent brings it to life and as he is retelling his own experiences, he often reads like he is telling us a story rather than reading from a book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When his aunt bought him new clothes for his job. Also Paddy Clohessy and the fact that he is even more poverty stricken than Frankie is moving.


    Any additional comments?

    This is one of those books I have listened to more than once. When Frank McCourt passed away, I heard the news on TV and thought "that voice has been silenced forever, how sad". I loved this book so much and felt like I was drawn into his world with it than when he really died, I was sad and felt like I lost someone I knew.

    Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim Holland, TX, United States 03-13-11
    Jim Holland, TX, United States 03-13-11 Member Since 2015

    Jumps on his bed while licking the bottom of one foot. He persists in this life affirming act despite interference from the head nurse.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    117
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    87
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    "I Should Have Talked to Frank More"

    I knew Frank McCourt in New York City, although not well. He kept so much to himself I didn't have many interactions with him. He sat on a stool in the corner of his brother Alphie's restaurant/bar on the Upper West Side of New York City, where I worked, sipping a glass of something, always alone. I have a feeling that, like all good autobiographies, some events and characters in Frank's book were enlarged, some reduced, others adjusted and sculptured to focus and shape the narrative. If George Orwell did that sort of thing in books like Down and Out in Paris and London then Frank McCourt deserves the same latitude. Frank certainly re-spun the dialogue from what he remembered, aided by years being as aspiring writer and playwright. Be that as it may, the text rings true and it is a thoroughly enjoyable book, narrated well by its writer. It's a tribute to endurance and decidedly a book worth reading or listening to.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barna Elkridge, MD, United States 09-23-08
    Barna Elkridge, MD, United States 09-23-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    18
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    "Terrific"

    I avoided this book when it won all of its awards because I was somewhat aware of the contents and it just seemed depressing to me. I read Teacher Man and 'Tis by the author and then a book club friend told me this was in audio and read by the author, which I consider a real plus. This is an incredible story of a family in Ireland, abandoned by the father, and their story of survival. McCourt's memory of his childhood is riveting. You will love this book

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Krykie 10-07-04
    Krykie 10-07-04
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "A Great Audiobook!"

    The book was good, the audiobook is great! The book is read by the author -- which always makes books better, but with the Irish brogue from the author, it makes it a GEM. This is my all-time favorite audiobook, and I'm not even Irish. It's a great story, a great piece of history, a great autobiography, a great audio story.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    URIEL MESHOULAM 04-04-04

    Usually happy customer

    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    22
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    "Best author-read book!"

    Excellent book, read by author in a wonderful Irish accent!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephanie St. Paul, MN, United States 11-20-10
    Stephanie St. Paul, MN, United States 11-20-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    50
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    4
    Overall
    "Tedious"

    The story overall is an inspiring one and there is no denying the resiliancy of the McCourt family. But soooooo many tedious details.

    It was hard for me to stick with this one to the end.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arielle 04-08-13
    Arielle 04-08-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Gross, Slow, and Tragic"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I'm unsure. I didn't particularly care for this book. The first half is really boring, and if I had read this instead of listening to it, I might not have stuck with it. However, I was interested enough to listen to the sequels.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I've already listened to the follow-ups "'Tis" and "Teacher Man" is what I'm listening to right now. They are both by and narrated by Frank McCourt.


    What does Frank McCourt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His story is narrated in his own words with his wonderful accent. It's told in a thoughtful way. The biggest thing that is a unique experience is the singing. In books when the lyrics are in the book, it's always awkward to read it without knowing the tune. Listening to the book give the reader an opportunity to hear the songs.


    What character would you cut from Angela's Ashes?

    There is no main character I would cut. Maybe a few of the side characters that add nothing but pages and minutes to the story.


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arielle T. Crawford 05-10-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "BEST AUDIOBOOK EVER"
    What made the experience of listening to Angela's Ashes the most enjoyable?

    Frank McCourt's narration is just so hilarious, by far the best narration of any audiobook ever. It's always better if the author himself can read his work, and in this case, it is so, so good. Frank, I think I love you.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Angela's Ashes?

    Really captures the essence of life - sad, funny and beautiful. My favorite quote - "I'd like to be a saint but if that's what it takes I think I'll just stay the way I am."


    Which character – as performed by Frank McCourt – was your favorite?

    Frankie, of course. I wanted to know more about what happened after coming to America, and what happen with Malachy. Research commence.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Every. Single. Moment.


    Any additional comments?

    If you don't listen to this book you are seriously missing out.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 04-01-14
    Jodie Middletown, NY, United States 04-01-14 Member Since 2014

    I have a rather eclectic love of books. I know what I like and I tend not to be a severe critic. If I enjoyed it, it gets 4 or 5 stars.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    64
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    123
    122
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    14
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I almost returned this book..."

    When I first started listening to this book, I really didn't like it. I had a very hard time following the accent of the narrator. I went to return it and then reread all the reviews, realizing that I needed to give it more time. Like watching a Shakespeare play, the language grows on you and you can follow it easier as you get used to it.

    I had a range of emotions while reading this book. I have ancestors who immigrated from Ireland to America and I had to rethink everything I thought I knew about them. I had assumed they came from the vibrant green and cozy Ireland where everyone was spectacularly nice and neighborly. After reading Frank McCourt's autobiography, I realize that my thinking was probably inaccurate. I never realized how stern the Irish were and how miserable and poor so many were. I had heard the stories of the drinking but assumed it was a stereotype; I never realized the damage it did to families. I also didn't understand the impact of the Catholic church on the Irish people and how the families seemed to be motivated by guilt from the church.

    This book can be amusing at times, but for the most part it is very serious and very sobering. It was a learning experience for me and I highly recommend that everyone who is interested in the roots of the people who helped build America, read this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    N. Barnes 09-30-13
    N. Barnes 09-30-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    19
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    5
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the best audiobooks you'll find"

    As I said for the second volume of Frank McCourt's memoir, 'Tis, this book is incredibly moving, blatantly honest, and delightful to the last drop. Not only do you get the joy of hearing an author read his own book, but this particular author has the gift of the voice as well as of the pen, and adds even more emotion to his narration.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank you.

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.